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The Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) sensor was carried onboard Landsats 4 and 5 from July 1982 to May 2012 with a 16-day repeat cycle, referenced to the Worldwide Reference System-2. Very few images were acquired from November 2011 to May 2012. The satellite began decommissioning activities in January 2013. The Thematic Mapper (TM) is an advanced, multispectral scanning, Earth resources sensor designed to achieve higher image resolution, sharper spectral separation, improved geometric fidelity, and greater radiometric accuracy and resolution than the Multispectral Scanner (MSS) sensor. TM data are sensed in seven spectral bands simultaneously. A TM scene has an Instantaneous Field Of View (IFOV) of 30m x 30m in bands 1-5 and 7 while band 6 has an IFOV of 120m x 120m on the ground (band 6 was collected at 120 meters, but was resampled to 30 meters). Band 6 senses thermal (heat) infrared radiation. Landsat can only acquire night scenes in band 6. The approximate scene size is 170 km north-south by 183 km east-west (106 mi by 114 mi).
The dataset records ice coast and ice shelf front positions and hence change for the period 1843 to 2008. Archival maps, aerial photographs and satellite images of the Antarctic Peninsula were used to reveal the past shape of the ice coastline. The coastlines were mapped in a GIS (ESRI Arc/Info) using a mosaic of Landsat TM imagery as a common reference. Over 2000 aerial photographs and over 100 satellite images were used to compile the dataset that includes the fronts of 244 glaciers and 20 ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula. As the coastlines were digitised on-screen, metadata for each coast segment were added to the attribute table. The dataset is part of a wider project by the U.S. Geological Survey to record coastal-change for the whole continent.